Written in 51 minutes.
Thursday, February 3, 2000
PCPD: Squad Room
“Wait here,” Jason murmured to Elizabeth by the doors. “I’m just going to talk to Alexis, and then we’ll get out of here.”
“All right.” Elizabeth caught his hand as he started to walk away. “Hey.” He looked back at her. “None of this is your fault,” she told him. “It’s not.”
He squeezed her hand, then released it. She was wrong, of course, but he appreciated the attempt. If he’d told Sonny weeks ago, if he’d found a way to do it more quietly, he could have kept this from blowing up.
But instead, he’d waited. He’d been selfish, trying to protect himself and Michael, and not doing what was right. Now Sonny had been arrested for assault and trespassing, Carly was in the wind, and Michael’s life was going to be destroyed anyway. All Jason had done with his silence was delay the inevitable.
“Hey.” Alexis emerged from the interrogation room with a sigh. “Alan’s holding firm on the charges of trespassing, and right now, AJ’s not in the mood to deal.”
Jason scrubbed his hands down his face. “They’ll back down eventually,” he muttered. “To protect the name. The last thing they want is to be splashed over the papers with all of this.”
“You’re probably right. When Edward gets down here,” Alexis continued, “I suspect he’ll talk to Alan. AJ’s angry. Humiliated. Which he has a right to be, I guess—” She bit her lip. “I don’t think I can get Sonny out today. Maybe later tonight if I can get a quick arraignment, but—”
“That’s fine.” Jason glanced back at Elizabeth, then at Taggert who was glaring in her direction. “I need time to track Carly down and it’s easier if—”
“Why bother?” Alexis wanted to know. “What purpose—”
“I don’t care about her,” Jason interrupted. “But Carly’s angry. And panicking. She does her worst damage at this point. Shooting Tony, having me arrested for kidnapping—” He shook his head. “And she’s going to take it out on me. The last time she did that—”
“Right.” Alexis held up a finer. “Excuse me.” She stalked towards Taggert who had just stood. “Going somewhere?” she asked coolly. Taggert tore his eyes away from Elizabeth and looked at the attorney.
“I just thought I’d ask—”
“She’s represented by counsel and there’s an injunction against this department. You’re not allowed to breathe in her direction until the internal investigation against Capelli is completed,” Alexis reminded him. “And we’re still reserving our right to sue—”
“I didn’t—” Taggert took a deep breath. “None of that is my fault—”
“No?” Alexis arched a brow, then tapped the shield he wore on a chain around his neck. “This makes it your fault. You were the lead officer on that search and you knew from prior encounters that Capelli was overly aggressive and angry with my client. You let him into that penthouse. You let him go upstairs to search her personal posessions. You let her go upstairs with him—”
“She went on her own—”
“Protect and serve,” Alexis cut in. “You stayed downstairs to harass Jason, and you let Capelli loose. Her wedding dress, by the way, couldn’t be repaired.”
Taggert grimaced, then looked over at Elizabeth again who just stared back at him. He returned his attention to Alexis. “You and I both know she’s protecting him. That she knows something about Moreno’s murder—”
“Prove it,” Alexis challenged. “Until then, stay away from my clients. Slapping a badge on your chest doesn’t make you a good man. You should know better than that.”
Jason waited for Alexis to back into the interrogation room before joining Elizabeth again. “Hey. Let’s get out of here.”
Quartermaine Mansion: Family Room
AJ stared at the minibar, at the decanter of vodka that was kept there. The glass tumblers by its side.
He’d thought Carly’s pregnancy was karma—the universe returning the favor and allowing AJ some revenge. He’d get to raise his brother’s child. He deserved that much, didn’t he?
But he’d been right that day with Carly — she was the punishment he deserved for what he’d done to his brother, what he’d done to his family. He’d been in this room with his parents, trying to block out the sound of their disappointment, the vision of their disgust—and Jason had been there, trying to make peace.
He’d give anything for that moment back, for just a chance. He’d go upstairs and sleep off the drunk, he’d wake up with a hangover but maybe then he’d go to rehab—
But there was no redemption. You couldn’t be forgiven for murder, and it didn’t matter if Jason hadn’t died. His brother, his beloved little brother, would never come home. It was worse, somehow, than death.
He deserved what Carly had done to him, and maybe he deserved even worse. He deserved to die himself, didn’t he? What kind of father could he ever be with his past, with his crimes?
As if in a trance, AJ reached for the vodka and poured himself a glass.
AJ turned and found Ned in the doorway, his hand up. “Don’t do it, AJ.”
“What’s the point?” AJ asked. He closed his eyes, wrapped both hands around the glass, letting the warmth of alcohol seep into his body. “Why bother staying sober?”
“For your son,” Ned said gently. He reached AJ and took the glass away. AJ didn’t fight. “Carly was a mistake. You did your best to give Michael a family, but that’s over now. She’s given you what you need to get her out your life for good. We’ll find her, AJ. You’ll serve her with papers, and it’ll finally be over.” Ned poured the vodka back into the glass. “Carly’s not worth this.”
“I—” AJ swallowed hard. “I wanted it to work. I really tried.”
“I know you did.”
“I even asked Jason for permission,” he said. He met Ned’s eyes. “After you talked to me — I thought — I’ll get Jason’s blessing. And instead—”
“Instead, Jason decided to come forward. He must have been waiting. Maybe he thought it was your child. That there was a chance. Did you tell him there wasn’t?”
“Yeah.” AJ managed a laugh. “Yeah, I did. I tried to do the wrong thing in the right way. I guess I got what I deserved.” He exhaled slowly. “I won’t drink, Ned. Not tonight.”
“That’s enough then. We’ll take care of tomorrow when it comes.” Ned put his arm around AJ’s shoulders. “Let’s go upstairs. We’ll go see Michael, okay?”
Morgan Penthouse: Living Room
Jason set the receiver down and put his head in his hands. Nothing. No sign of her. How the hell had Carly been able to disappear?
He glanced over when Elizabeth came through the door, her bag slung over her shoulder. “Hey. How was class?”
“Fine.” She dumped the bag on the sofa, then leaned against the side of the desk where he sat. “No luck?”
“No.” Jason leaned back, looking towards the ceiling. “She did this before. When Michael was born. She disappeared.”
“There were decisions that had to be made about Michael. About his health. And he didn’t even have a name. I could have told the truth then.” He tilted his chin back down to look at her. “I didn’t.”
“Because I’d promised her,” Jason said. “And I knew what the Quartermaines would do. She’d never get the baby back. They’d used her leaving against them, and I just thought—she deserved a chance. But I should have told the truth.”
“You’re saying that now, two years later, because you have the advantage of knowing what she was capable of,” Elizabeth said gently. “Give yourself a break, Jason. You did the best yo could at the time, and Michael’s better off for it. Maybe there were other times you could have told, but you’re only human. And you loved him. I know how much you still love him. He’ll always be a little bit yours.”
“I just—she’s out there,” Jason said slowly, “angry, scared, and panicking. And planning.”
“Jason, what can she do?” Elizabeth wanted to know. “I mean, to you? To Sonny? Or the Quartermaines?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted. He didn’t really have all that much to take, he thought. He had Lila and Emily. He had Elizabeth. What else could Carly really do? He reached out for Elizabeth’s hands and drew her down to sit in his lap, holding her close. She tucked her head under his chin. He traced her wedding ring with the tip of his index finger.
“You’re doing the best you can, Jason. Carly, Sonny, and AJ are adults who can make their own mistakes.”
“Yeah. I’ll just feel better if she’s somewhere where she can be watched.” Jason exhaled slowly, then stroked Elizabeth’s back. “But there’s nothing else I can do until she makes a mistake and we find her.”
“Then I think—” Elizabeth shifted until she was straddling him, one knee on each side. “I think we should find something else to do.” She arched a brow. “I’m really tired of talking about Carly.”
“Me, too.” Jason grinned then, and swallowed her gasp with his mouth as he abruptly stood. He set her on the desk, and she parted her legs so he could get closer.
“You know, the desk is on my list,” Elizabeth teased as she nipped his lips. “Right after the shower.”
Friday, February 4, 2000
Morgan Penthouse: Master Bedroom
The call came early the next morning — so early that the sun hadn’t yet broken through the clouds. Elizabeth stirred, then groaned, shoving her face deeper into the pillow. “Five more minutes,” she mumbled.
Jason slid his arm from beneath her and reached for his cell on the nightstand. “Yeah. Yeah, okay. Call me if she moves.” He hung up and rolled back towards Elizabeth. “Hey.” He brushed his lips over her hair. “I have to go.”
“Okay,” she mumbled. She shifted onto her side to peer at him blearily. “Call me if you need me.”
“Go back to sleep.” He kissed her gently, then went to confront Carly, promising himself this would be the last time.
Carly yanked open the door and smirked at him. “Took you long enough. You’re getting slow.” She stepped back, as if she meant to let him in.
“I’m not staying,” Jason said flatly. “You can come back with me, or I’ll wait until you leave, then follow you. I’ve already called the Quartermaines to tell them where you are.”
“So AJ can serve me?” Carly rolled her eyes and leaned against the doorway. “Or so Sonny can?”
“Does it matter?”
“Well, you can tell Sonny not to bother.” She tossed back her hair, then glared at him defiantly. “He has nothing to do with this—”
“Don’t lie to me,” Jason said tightly. “Not again—”
“I’m not,” she shot back. “I did what I should have done weeks ago. Lucky for me, New York doesn’t have a waiting period because the last thing I need is to be fighting two custody battles. So I took care of it.”
Jason stared at her for a long time, then swallowed hard. Waiting period. New York didn’t have a waiting period. “You had an abortion.”
“The right to choose and all,” Carly said. She folded her arms. “Go ahead. Judge me. I don’t care.”
He exhaled slowly, then shook his head. “I’m not going to do that,” he said, and she blinked at him. “You’re right. It’s your choice. It’s always been your choice. You’ve made all the choices, and I’ve just followed your lead. I guess we’re all better off if you’re not dealing with Sonny in court.”
She clearly hadn’t expected that. “Wait—”
Jason glanced behind him at the sound of another car pulling into the empty space next to his bike. He stepped aside, waiting for Ned to get out, a sheaf of papers in his hand. “Good luck, Carly. You’ll need it.”
“She’s all yours,” he told Ned as he passed him.
“Thanks.” Ned turned to Carly and handed her the paperwork with the divorce and custody petitions. “You’ve been served. Have a nice day.”